President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has led Taiwan back to an era of “Soft White Terror” by bringing the media in Taiwan to its knees, political pundit Nan Fang Shuo (南方朔) said yesterday, adding: “I am a victim.”
Nan Fang Shuo told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday that the Chinese-language China Times has lied about why it declined to run his column on Sept. 17 when the newspaper explained to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao over its rejection of the article.
In an op-ed article published by the Ming Pao yesterday, Nan Fang Shuo said: “I was a testimony” to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) new strategy to wage a media battle against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) because Ma will not reconcile himself to the fact that Wang still retains the speakership.
Nan Fang Shuo told the Ming Pao that the rejection of his column resulted from Ma telling managers of media outlets in support of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) not to run articles critical of Ma’s moves against Wang.
In what the media have termed the “September political strife” between Ma and Wang, Wang on Sept. 13 won a court reprieve from the KMT Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee’s decision, facilitated by Ma, to revoke his membership to strip him of his speakership over his alleged role in an undue influence case that surfaced on Sept. 6.
While the media turned to Typhoon Usagi during the four-day holiday for this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, Ma has not relented in his efforts to oust Wang, but turned to the media to continue the battle, Nan Fang Shuo said in his article in the Ming Pao.
Ma has returned Taiwan to the “White Terror,” except that it was not done in a coercive manner, relying instead on persuasive repression as Ma has exerted pressure on news media to force them to take his side in his plan to remove Wang from his position, Nan Fang Shuo said.
The new strategy came after Ma’s heavy-handed methods to deal with Wang during the initial stage of the incident backfired and pushed down his approval rating to 9.2 percent, Nan Fang Shuo said.
Nan Fang Shuo said the column rejected by the China Times called for Ma to “fire the gang of four” as a way to “apologize to Wang Jin-pyng.”
Nan Fang Shuo said that Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), then-deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) were the “gang of four” involved in the “premeditated plan” against Wang.
The reason the “gang of four” targeted Wang was to shift responsibility for the poor performance of the government from Ma to Wang as rumors have spread around among KMT local supporters that Wang has long sided with the Democratic Progressive Party in the legislature in boycotting the Ma administration’s policies, Nan Fang Shuo said.
Wang was made a “scapegoat for the failure of Ma administration,” he added.
Nan Fang Shuo said he wrote the article “with good intentions” because that would more quickly bring an end to political turmoil.
In a report, the Ming Pao quoted an anonymous editorial writer at the China Times as saying that the newspaper was under no pressure from the Ma administration not to publish Nan Fang Shuo’s column.
The anonymous editorial writer said the editorial room has asked Nan Fang Shuo to present evidence to back up his accusations about the plan to eliminate Wang, but he could not and thus it decided not to run the column, which contained baseless charges, the Ming Pao reported.
Nan Fang Shuo told the Taipei Times that no one from the China Times had talked to him about his column.
The China Times asked a friend of Nan Fang Shuo, who used to work in the editorial room in the newspaper, to pass a message to him that “they would not run the column” and did not give me an explanation, he said.
It was the second time the China Times rejected Nan Fang Shuo’s column.
The first rejection came on May 17, 2011, with a column where Nan Fang Shuo mentioned that Ma and Beijing had agreed to a strategy to boost Ma’s chance of winning the 2008 presidential election.
A columnist for the China Times for more than 20 years, Nan Fang Shuo said he did not join the boycott staged by academics against writing op-ed for the newspaper amid the Anti-Media Monopolization movement last year because he found it hard to abandon the newspaper at the time.
“But now, I have no feelings for [the China Times] and I will never write a column for the newspaper,” Nan Fang Shuo said.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday invited him to start a column in the newspaper and he has accepted the offer, he said.